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DePaul Students Pitch Marketing Ideas for McDonald’s All American Games

As a Braham, Minn. high school senior in 2013, DePaul Blue Demons Women’s senior guard Rebekah Dahlman was one of 24 elite players from across the country selected to play basketball in the McDonald’s All American Games. Dahlman didn’t imagine then that a few years later, she and four DePaul University graduate business school classmates would be presenting a marketing plan at McDonald’s new West Loop offices for this national high school hoops all-star event.

“As a student athlete myself and a McDonald’s All American alumna, I never knew how much went into all the planning, marketing and advertising for this event,” says Dahlman, who is studying in the Master’s in Marketing program at the Kellstadt Graduate School of Business. “I thought we (the student teams) all brought great ideas, and, from their (McDonald’s) feedback, it seemed like they loved all of our ideas and would consider using them at the future games.”

In March, McDonald’s marketing managers heard presentations from four Kellstadt student teams as well as six teams of undergraduate DePaul business majors who proposed strategies for driving awareness of the McDonald's All American Games on a national level and increasing tickets sales in the host city. The project was part of the Sports Sponsorship Marketing course taught by Andy Clark, director of the Sports Management Program at DePaul’s Driehaus College of Business.

Rebekah Dalman
Rebekah Dalman | Photo by Steve Woltman

All 10 of the student teams presented to an impressive group of McDonald’s marketing and communications managers led by McDonald’s Head of Sports Alliances John Lewicki, along with recent DePaul graduates Rachel Rossner (BUS '16) and Claribel Diaz (BUS '17), who, as students, took Clark’s course. Joining the presentations evaluation team were representatives from McDonald’s agencies, DDB, Golin, KemperLesnik, Narrative Group and Content Collective.

“The feedback from the panel for all 10 teams was outstanding,” Clark says. “John Lewicki developed this experiential learning project specifically for our Sports Sponsorship Marketing classes. Prior to the final presentations John came to DePaul two separate weeks to work with the students. We can’t thank John enough for his time and expertise during the six-week project.”

The project “not only prepared me for pursuing my dreams in marketing but also it gave me a taste of what really goes into the process of working on a huge event like the McDonald’s All American Games,” Dahlman says. “I appreciate all that goes into this having a successful turnout and an exciting week.”

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